2016 Karel Fellows Group Photo

Are You the Next Karel Fellow?

Having just concluded the fifth summer of the Frank Karel Fellowship, with nine amazing fellows representing the best, most engaged and most diverse cohort and nonprofit hosts in the Fellowship’s history, the timing seemed appropriate to step back and re-visit the vision and strategy of the Frank Karel Fellowship. In other words: knowing what we now know, with five years “under our belts,” where do want to go next? Following lengthy dialogue with our primary funder, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Karel staff and advisors, the Fellowship has decided to move forward with a number of changes, based on assessments of what has worked and which areas can be improved.

To ensure that these changes are implemented carefully and strategically, the Karel Fellowship will not be selecting fellows for the 2017 summer. The pause will give us time to implement these changes while orienting new staff and advisors. We look forward to re-launching the Fellowship with an application deadline in December 2017 and selection of fellows for the summer of 2018.

The Idea Behind the Fellowship

The Karel Fellowship honors and advances the legacy of Frank Karel, who established, led and nurtured the field of strategic communications during his 30 years as chief communications officer for the Robert Wood Johnson and Rockefeller Foundations. Karel believed that racial and ethnic minorities were underrepresented in the public interest communications field and that foundations and public interest organizations needed to be proactive in recruiting and nurturing broader participation and leadership in public interest communications and advocacy.

Learning how to fight

When I was growing up, refugees and conflicts happening in far-away places were never really things that I thought much about – nor, needless to say – identified much with. To me, refugees were just foreign people on TV, with vastly different cultures living a reality that had nothing to do with me.

A District of Change, Washington D.C.

I spoke to Valentina at the League of United Latin American Citizens national convention in Washington, D.C. on behalf of World Wildlife Fund’s new program, Climatico and I remember how she began to describe to me how she lost everything after the glaciers began to melt and the runoff forced her to emigrate from Bolivia to the United States.